Shelby G. Floyd
Shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the apostle Peter wrote two letters to the Christians who were scattered abroad—the [diaspora] or dispersion. These people of God were being persecuted by the Roman government and by the ungodly Jews and Gentiles. The Christian people who were converted to Christ from among both the Jews and Gentiles had drastically changed their lifestyle. They no longer lived the life of a libertine. Those who were unconverted were astonished or shocked that they refused to live like they once had done. Peter reminded his readers that the worldly minded could not understand why Christian people now lived such a self-controlled life free from the profligate excesses that once characterized them:
1 Peter 4:4-5
In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
The Flood of Dissipation
Peter describes the lifestyle that all men will give an account to the Lord Jesus who will judge the living and the dead, as “the same flood of dissipation” in which they had once lived. He reminds them that they had already spent too much of their precious time “walking” according to the will of man instead of the “will of God.” What is “the flood of dissipation” that Christian people must avoid? Peter thus describes:
1 Peter 4:2-3
That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.
“The Lusts of Men”
Let us take a closer look at each species of “the lusts of men:”
1. “Lewdness.” First at the head of the list is lewdness from [aselgeia], meaning anything that is vile, filthy and shameless. This vice was not hard to find then or now. Much of what is going on today fits this description.
2. “Lusts.” “Lust” is from [epithumias] and means a craving desire for what is forbidden by God. Lust if not controlled produces sin and suffering in our life. James makes this plain: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:13-15, NKJV).
3. “Drunkenness.” Drunkenness is one of the worst blights upon any society and it is fast becoming the norm in America by a large portion of our people. “Drunkenness” is derived from [oinophlugiais] and is translated by such words as “drunkenness,” “winebibbing,” and literally as translated by the King James, “excess of wine.” Christian people would do well to stay away from wine when it is fermented and “bubbly” (Proverbs 23:29-35).
4. “Revelries.” This vice is translated from [komos], a reference to drunken orgies, and is defined by Thayer as “a revel, carousal…and used generally of feasts and drinking parties that are protracted till late at night and indulge in revelry” (Thayer, p. 367). The following passage uses this word and should warn every Christian to abstain from such drunken gatherings:
Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
We know that nothing good comes from these drinking parties, but drunkenness, adultery, violence and murder.
5. “Drinking parties.” Peter has used three different words to describe “the flood of dissipation” characterizing the life that should be put away after one becomes a Christian. There definitely cannot be any misunderstanding in this phrase—“drinking parties.” This is what “the world” lives for. Many cannot wait until Friday night to get off work and go out to “party all night” at “drinking parties!” This is from the Greek word [potos], and refers to what is obviously a worldly endeavor—“a drinking bout.” A “drinking party” is “social drinking” of alcoholic beverages and God’s people should abstain from such.
6. “Abominable idolatries.” Finally, this describes all of the above and in addition idolatrous worship. This confirms that sin leads one from the true worship of God in spirit and truth (John 4:24).
Let all who wear the name of Christ abstain from such abdominal practices. But we must be ready to be looked upon by the unbelieving world as “rank strangers.”
Copyright © 2016 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142